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Big data is great, but larger data sets do not always mean better insights. And while today’s CMO is tasked with being a data-driven marketer, extracting value from the vast proliferation of data they see every day is an increasing challenge.

In this recent VB Insight Report “Big Data, Meet Dumb Data”, we asked 757 marketing pros how they do analytics.

The results are surprising.

What isn’t a surprise, of course, is that CMOs love big data. 74 percent of CMOs want more data, and say that more data creates more opportunities. Also not much of a surprise is that CMOs prefer small sets of clean data to bigger sets of complex data. A bit more of a surprise is that for half of CMOs, ease of interpreting or extrapolating data was their top priority in a campaign.

In other words, although marketing is getting more technical, simplicity is still primary.

That has its dangers, however. June Andrews, a senior data scientist at LinkedIn, told VentureBeat that not only is data accessibility increasing “hand over fist,” but that most of her colleagues are leaving 20 percent of the opportunity on the table when they are only able to make sense of 80 percent of the data.

So, how are marketing professionals making use of the 80 percent of data they are using? Mostly for market segmentation, apparently: it’s the top priority emphasized when developing new marketing campaigns.

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Data driven marketing campaigns sound great, but do you make them happen?

In one of many case studies found in Big Data, Meet Dumb Data, author Neil Ungerleider highlights how Vail Resorts devised a smarter way of leveraging their data sets to better engage with their customers — and increase ROI.

By unifying disparate silos of data from hotels, ski hills, and ski schools into a single analytics platform, Vail Resorts created a data driven marketing campaign that connected all the dots on Vail’s customer touch points. The company could then create a smart marketing campaign driven by users that resulted in more than 35 million social impressions across Twitter and Facebook.

Questions of execution and best practices remain, however.

What products are marketing professionals using to make sense of their data? What are the most important factors for executing campaigns? Do professionals feel that data proliferation creates opportunities or difficulties?

Access Neal Ungerleider’s report to find the answers to these questions; and to further explore the role of a data-driven CMO, the tools they use, data strategies that lead to success, and ultimately how winning organizations find the “smart data” in a sea of “dumb data.”

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